“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire Universe, deserve your love and affection.” ~ Buddha
Self-esteem is a measure of how much we value and appreciate ourselves. Undoubtedly our childhood experiences have a major impact on this attribute. We may have received negative messages, or given ourselves negative messages as a result of our experience or how we were treated.
So, we can arrive at adulthood not feeling very good about ourselves. This can block us from achieving the success we desire, or alternatively, can prevent us from acknowledging the success we have created.
Once we become adults, our self-esteem is our responsibility. We can no longer blame others for how we feel about ourselves. We must decide to “esteem” ourselves: to hold ourselves in high esteem in our own minds.
In order to do this, we must become aware of the criticisms and judgments we make of ourselves. Then, we must commit to stop abusing ourselves in this manner. Sadly, often our own inner critic takes over the role from those who criticized us in the past. This process may even be subconscious.
Next, we must decide to unconditionally love ourselves right now; not when we have lost the weight, gained the promotion, or found the right person. We need to eliminate all conditions we have placed on our worthiness.
Finally, we must be independent of the good opinion of others. We can decide to value ourselves regardless of what others may say or feel about us.
When these things have been accomplished, we can begin to like ourselves more. We can even start to love ourselves. With this, self-esteem takes a big leap forward.
Gwen Randall-Young is an author and award-winning Psychotherapist. For permission to reprint this article, or to obtain books or cds, visit www.gwen.ca